the civil rights battle of our generation?

28 Oct

I’ve seen posters all around campus for the last couple of weeks which urge people to vote/volunteer for preserving gay marriage in Iowa. The bottom of the poster says “In 25 years, what will you say you were doing during the civil rights battle of our generation? …homework?”

Now, I totally understand the sentiment here. Oftentimes, people compare gay marriage to interracial marriage – there was a time when interracial marriage was illegal, but looking back on that time, most of us can’t understand what the big deal was. Same with gay marriage. Once it becomes legal in all 50 states (which it will, believe you me), people will start to wonder why there was such a problem with it in the first place. 25 years from now, it will seem so obviously awesome and necessary and constitutionally appropriate. It already seems that way to many people (including me).

That said, do I really believe it is the civil rights battle of this generation? I’m not sure. I think it might be one of the civil rights battles of this generation. I think we are still fighting for racial equality, gender equality, a smaller income/wealth gap. I think those are all civil rights battles of this generation.

That’s not to say that one kind of oppression is any more worthy of our time and energy than another. Rather, I just want to point out that there are many things we, as a country, need to be spending our time on. 25 years from now, I won’t just be looking back at what I did as an LGBTQIA ally, but also what I did as a feminist, a fighter of human trafficking, an advocate for racial equality…

Unfortunately, there is not one civil rights battle of our generation. We can’t lose sight of all of the battles being fought every day.

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